Decorah eagles growing up fast - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Decorah eagles growing up fast

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DECORAH (KWWL) - The popular Decorah eagles hatched three little eagles earlier this year.

Those little eagles aren't so little, though, anymore.

"They're growing into real eagles," said Bob Anderson, director of the Raptor Resource Project.

He said they weigh about 7-8 pounds each, and are about to the weight they will stay at. But they still have lots of feathers that need to come in.

And with that growth comes lots of activity.

They're learning to eat on their own, although they still depend on mom and dad to feed them.

"They're just at the stage right now where they're starting to tear food up for themselves," Anderson said. "You can see one bird right here, the oldest one, is standing. And so if there was some prey in there, maybe a trout or something, he'd maybe go over and pull on it."

They're also getting ready to take flight.  They can't actually leave the nest and get in the air yet, but they do plenty of "wingersizing."

"They're flapping their wings a lot," he said. "Whenever there's a breeze up there, at least one of them will flap. They don't quite have enough feathers right yet to lift off, but pretty soon they will. They're going to be exercising more and more and more, strengthening up their sternum muscles and breast muscles, getting ready for flight."

Despite their size, Anderson said they are still vulnerable to predators like raccoons. That's why he said he's working to protect the little eagles.

"Well, it's possible that a raccoon could get up there at night. We've been maintaining a live trap underneath the nest tree. And I caught 12 raccoons, one opossum and one cat three times, but they've all been let go."

The eagles will start to take flight within the next couple of weeks.

Anderson said they won't leave the nest for good until late in the summer.
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